This blog briefly reflects upon my adventures in both running and life, and what I've learned along the way.The purpose of documenting these adventures is partially a meditation tool for myself, but also to help you and others learn with (or from) me. Our journeys may be separate, but we can all push eachother to reach our peak potential.
No Excuses: A Blog on Running, Meat, and Reality T.V.*
Excuses: A Blog on Running, Meat, and Reality T.V.*
*Discretionary Note:Before reading this blog, please be aware that I am writing from my
values, beliefs, and truths.You may not
agree with all I have to say, which is fine, and I don’t mean to offend.If simply ask that you remain open-minded,
take what you want out of it, and leave the rest behind for now.
We all make them.Often without even knowing it.Most common is the famous “I’ve just been too busy!”.It’s our minds most common defense against
things we don’t want to do, things we fear, or just a way of making ourselves
miserable as we carry on with work and instead of enjoying life with our
friends and family.
However, this blog is about 3 main excuses: Being too tired
or in too much pain to run, eating meat, and watching reality T.V. (and
engaging in other sorts of junk media).
To be honest, I’ve never had too much trouble with the
first (even as a kid I had a passion for testing my limits and seeing how far I
could push myself).But, as running is
often an overarching focus in my blogs, I thought I should include it.
Just as running is so easy to start, just lacing up a pair
of shoes (I know, I know, some people run barefoot) and heading out the door,
it’s just as easy to stop.All you need
to do is to open the door into your mind a tiny crack to negative thoughts and
they will come flooding in. Actually, it is almost inevitable that they will
creep in, but you don’t let them control you…
Again, I could go on for awhile about this, but I’m going
to focus on ultras.
are not simply tests of endurance; they are extreme tests of mind over
body.In ultras, it is a given that you
will be tired, you will be in pain, that you will have visions of yourself
sleeping in a nice warm bed or in the front of a buffet line.
The key is not
lot let these thoughts rule over your mind.How tired are you? How much pain are you really in?Too tired to take another step?Too tired to reach that goal you’ve put in
months of hard work to reach? Pain is often an excuse too.I am not talking about an injury, I would
never advise sacrificing your body just to finish an ultra.On the other hand, stopping because of pain
that is really soreness in your feet, and aching body…well that’s an
excuse.Your negative thoughts have
taken over your mind, making a seemingly rational decision that it’s okay to
stop and go put on your fuzzy pajamas and you can race another day.But what’s going to change in that next race?The pain will not. It’s still going to hurt
like hell. Even puking is an excuse to (unless it leaves you severely
seen people puke and run…it happens when you shove a variety of food down your
throat and run at the same time. The key is, besides remaining positive, is to
figure out why you “endure”Is it for the beauty of the journey?Your love of nature?To make yourself stronger? To show your
strength?Because you love breaking past
your own barriers? (For the t-shirt, food, or beer at the end are all fine too,
they just shouldn’t be your key motivators).
Just don’t let
your excuses stop you from reaching that finish line.*
For me, running
a 100 mile ultra-marathon isn’t just about running 100 miles…I have always
viewed trail running as a metaphor for life (and vice versa).Among many other things, it is a chance to
look back at my former self when I was weak, when I let the negative voices
tear me apart, and prove how strong I now am (and positive...smiling is not
only my favorite, it is key to my race performance*).It’s a chance to show others, especially
women, how to be strong too.
*if you’ve never seen “Elf” I apologize as you’re probably
a bit confused right now.But please
watch “Elf”.It’s the best movie ever.
*There are reasons that make dropping perfectly
justifiable. Also, I will make the extra exception for the top runners, where
it make sense for them to, at times, save their legs for another day.
Okay, the next
part of this blog may be more difficult to read for some.I’m going to talk about two things that a
norms in American daily life, and state my
personal beliefs against them. During just the past few months, I have
almost eliminated both from my life...but before that, they were part of my
normal day.But they made me stupid,
they made me go against my morals, and I made excuses for myself.
Meat, animals.Are they different, or
The answer is
obvious.Meat is a dead animal.But how easily we separate the two!
I accepted this
myth in my mind for 24 years (then again, for the majority of my childhood, I
didn’t have the mental capacity to ponder this concept.I simply at what was fed to me, or I had to
sit at the table all night).However, the
more I read, the more I talked to people, the more I dug deep into my inner
self, I had to ponder the question:Is
it right to eat animals?
my inner arguments for pro-meat:
been eating animals for centuries.I
think Jesus ate meat, so it must be okay.Plus, God put animals on earth, and hasn’t sent a plague to punish any
of us carnivores, so I think we were meant to eat them.” (That really is how my
mind works. Scary, I know)
-”As a high
mileage runner, I need to get high quality protein from animals. My body will
never recover otherwise!”
battling iron-deficient anemia for years.If I don’t eat meat, it’s sure to plummet.”
-“It would be a
lot harder to eat out.I can already see
my mom rolling her eyes at me.”
With this came
what I chose to ignore. I chose to ignore the life in animals, how much I
adored touching the babies soft hair at petting zoos, the beautiful sight of
cows grazing on long drives through the country.I ignored that giving milk was a huge benefit
to human life in itself (no, I am not vegan), that chickens laid eggs full of
protein,and that Babe the pig, was just
a story, that real pigs can’t feel. Never mind I never ate the pork at the pig
roast because I could actually see the cooked body.(I always had a guilty
feeling when eating beef or ham, and only either on occasion.) I chose to
ignore all the steroids put in animal food, and how they could affect my
body.I did try organic chicken
drumsticks once, and then never again.They seemed to be oozing with blood.I ignored the books I read on the brutality of slaughterhouses, doing my
best to block out the whines and screams playing in my head of the
animals.I would never eat a deer, or a
moose, or anything like that…ignoring that I ate others just like them, and
ignoring that it would be normal in other countries to eat dogs and cats. That
thought makes me cringe.
I ignored that
these animals might not have the brains humans do, but they have hearts. I felt
entitled as a human to eat my fellow oxygen consumers.
Was it simply
enough that God put animals on earth for us to enjoy as beautiful, living
beings?Or, that they exist simply to
breathe and eat, possibly enjoy the company of their fellow herd/flock/etc, not
unlike humans (despite our somewhat over-complicated existence)?
the past year or two, I began to open up my mind and deal with the difficult
I looked at my
own values, morals, beliefs to get to my core.And, I looked at the facts presented to me.
I realized I
was making excuses that led me on an easier route, not necessarily the right
debunking some of the above myths and getting over that my mom would again look
at me like I’m crazy, which is not that on common, I accepted what science and
others were telling me: You can be vegetarian and a healthy runner.I have
quite a few friends that are vegetarians and great runners.One had even suffered from iron-deficiency
anemia and was having no problems, just taking iron pills as she had when
eating meat.In addition, I had
extremely low iron when eating meat!As
for the protein, like most pro-veg articles say, it is super easy to get sources
of protein from food other than meat: peanut (butter), almonds, tofu, veggie
burgers, beans, hummus, lentils, eggs, etc and it’s found in a lot of whole
wheat products. I’ve never had a problem cooking a meal (stir-frys, Mexican, and
veggie burgers are weekly staples).It
also helped to read Scott Jurek’s book Eat
& Run too (and bit dejected when I read a few weeks later Marshal
Ulrich’s promoting meat in his book).
importantly, it feels right.I no longer
have a guilty conscience of an animal being slaughtered because of me.I started with a month test period to test it
out and see if I still felt healthy at the end.I did, and did decently well at BT50k.(Steve was supposed to do this with me, a past vegetarian, but my mom
talked him into a pulled pork sandwich…). I’ve now been a vegetarian for 3
months, and feel great.
realize this still this was MY choice and what is right for me.I would never tell someone what I think they should do, because I don’t
have the right to think for anyone. I
will also keep an open mind, listening to different facts as they come.
With that, I do
encourage everyone to think…
actually the title of legal analyst, Lisa Bloom’s book, which encourages women
to think for themselves in a world that is filled with junk, and, telling women
what to do. (Recommendation: read this book! And thank you Sandi for
recommending it to me!).
This brings me
to my next excuse:Engaging in reality
T.V. celebrity gossip, tabloid magazines, etc.I was guilty. Big time.Jersey
Shore, Real Housewives of So and So, Keeping Up with the Kardashians (and Khloe
and Lamar), watching silly celebrity gossip shows on E!, and all the one I told
myself were okay because they were on TLC…ha!I did realize these shows did not do anything to stir my intelligence,
but simply let these be my guilty pleasures, like the peanut butter I scoot out
of the jar with my finger.But
worse.These didn’t even leave me
satisfied, just sleep deprived as they all went past my bedtime.Anyway, it seemed if everyone else was
watching it too, there was always someone else to chat with about the latest
I kept making
the excuse.It was my time to relax and
turn my brain off.Thursday nights was
my time to bond with Steve as we watched the new episode of Jersey Shore.The worst was probably “I feel better about
myself after watching Bravo/MTV/E!.”What!?!?!Was I comparing myself
to a drunk, plastic, painted, rich, selfish reality star?Was I no better the Snookie!?How did I stoop so low!? What was I
Hence again the
problem.I was not thinking.I was absorbing junk.
I don’t exactly
remember when I started cutting these shows out.I think it was sometime at the end of last
summer.Sandi’s blog probably helped
when she stated how much clearer her mind was during her month of camping, and
when I read how important sleep, not sitting on the couch, is for recovery.
Some shows were
easy.Real Housewives just became too
much for me.It was the same thing over
and over, just in a different state, and I got bored.Even more so, other shows just left me
feeling disgusted and the guilt continued to seep in.And, how was supposed to adamantly stand my
ground, telling Steve’s kids that the “characters” on Jersey Shore were not
role models or to be mimicked in any way, yet still watchedthem get drunk and hook-up with strangers?
My excuses were
definitely not exemplifying the person I wanted to be, nor making myself a
worthy role model.
athletic quote is “No Excuses”.Two
words, nothing more, because there isn’t any need.Everyone get is the meaning.In every game, meet, or event, a true athlete
leaves it all out on the floor, track, or field.Win or lose, there is nothing more to be
done, because all was given.
What makes life
different, less important than a sport?
silly when put that way, but that’s what I was doing.I was letting excuses belittle my life.I was not living life to the fullest.
I watched my
last episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians a month ago.When I heard a rumor about the mom and OJ
Simpson, I had to fight the urge to find out more.I feel much better now that I didn’t give in,
just I don’t give into pain during a race.
know I will slip in the three areas I have mentioned.I will read the headlines of a tabloid magazine
in the grocery line, eat soup cooked in chicken broth, and whimper during a 100
What I will not
do is let my excuses become who I am.
I have let
myself become conscience of them so I can fight them.I have acknowledged them so I will not be
prevented in being the person I am meant to be.I can honestly live my life with confidence, exuding strength and
compassion, not just for myself, but others.